Swing Time

swingtim

The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

Boy meets girl. Boy dances with girl. Boy loses girl. Boy sings to girl. Boy gets girl back.

This movie is kind of an odd duck in many ways. Firstly, it’s one of the ten movies that Fred and Ginger made together, which Warner’s is finally releasing in two sets; the first set is out, and I’m eagerly awaiting the second.

As with any movie couple or buddies who make more than two movies together, some of Fred and Ginger’s movies are really good, and some are…not so good. This one is good.

Mr. Otter and were given the video many years ago, and sat down to watch it one night.

And we HATED it. I think we turned it off halfway though, in the snow scene. It was one of the worst movies we had ever seen, and we’ve sat through some pretty awful stuff

And we put it on a shelf (why didn’t we get rid of it? who knows?) and forgot about it. Literally.

And maybe a year later, we felt like watching a musical, and found Swing Time on the shelf of unwatched stuff (a huge pile, believe me) and said, Let’s watch this! Singing! Dancing! Fred and Ginger! And we did, and we loved it. Loved the songs (Jerome Kern, an Otter Family Favorite), loved the dancing, the stupid situations, the supporting actors (Eric Blore, Victor Moore and Helen Broderick), everything.

And then we got to the dance academy scene…and I said, wait a minute, we’ve seen this, wasn’t this the one we tried to watch a while ago and we hated it? And by the time we got to the snow scene, Mr. Otter and I agreed that this was the case.

But by then the alien lifeforms that had taken over our brains that first night had gone away and we now love this movie.

There’s a ‘blackface’ number in here, which always makes us shudder, thinking of the horrendously embarrassing scene in Babes in Arms with Mickey and Judy in blackface (what is it about Mickey Rooney and unfortunate ethnic stereotypes?) But this one is fine; it’s a tap dance tribute to Bojangles, with good music, Fred doing a stunning tap routine (which, I am willing to bet, he researched and actually did in Bojangles’ style) and is really very nicely done. There is also one of the strangest songs ever, which Fred uses to win Ginger back at the end…sung in a minor key, with extremely odd lyrics*…but hey, it’s a musical, what do you expect?

This is pure fun and silliness; much of the plot makes no sense, songs are just placed here and there with no context, musical numbers are big and overblown, and the ending is unbelieveable. But who cares? it’s fun. And pretty. And full of Fred and Ginger.

*Okay, here it is…nuf sed.
Though, I’m left without a penny,
The wolf was discreet.
He left me my feet.
And so, I put them down on anything
But the la belle,
La perfectly swell romance.
Never gonna dance.
Never gonna dance.
Only gonna love.
Never gonna dance.
Have I a heart that acts like a heart,
Or is it a crazy drum,
Beating the weird tattoos
Of the St. Louis Blues?
Have I two eyes to see your two eyes
Or see myself on my toes
Dancing to radios
Or Major Edward Bowes?
Though, I’m left without a penny,
The wolf was discreet.
He left me my feet.
And so, I put them down on anything
But the la belle,
La perfectly swell romance.
Never gonna dance.
Never gonna dance.
Only gonna love.
Never gonna dance.
I’ll put my shoes on beautiful trees.
I’ll give my rhythm back to the breeze.
My dinner clothes may dine where they please,
For all I really want is you.
And to Groucho Marx I give my cravat.
To Harpo goes my shiny silk hat.
And to heaven, I give a vow
To adore you. I’m starting now
To be much more positive.
That’s….
Though, I’m left without my Penny,
The wolf was not smart.
He left me my heart.
And so, I cannot go for anything
But the la belle,
La perfectly swell romance.
Never gonna dance.
Never gonna dance.
Only gonna love you.
Never gonna dance.

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